REO HATATE has come roaring back to blistering form following a lacklustre start to the season.

The Celtic playmaker was puzzlingly off the pace in the first two months after the second coming of Brendan Rodgers.

David Turnbull got the not from the Irishman to start the Premiership opener and scored a double in the 4-2 win over Ross County on Flag Day at Parkhead on August 5.

UNSTOPPABLE…Reo Hatate surges through the Kilmarnock defence before lashing home Celtic’s opener in the 3-1 win at Parkhead this month.

Hatate came on as a substitute after the interval and it was a similar script the following week at Pittodrie when the 25-year-old Japanese international came on at the start of the second-half for the former Motherwell star.

However, Hatate, after agreeing an extension to his current deal, as CQN reported, displayed the form of which we all know he is capable with a Man-of-the-Match performance in the 3-1 Premiership triumph over Kilmarnock at Parkhead before heading for Japan during the international break.

It was the January 2022 recruit from Kawasaki Frontale who got the ball rolling against the Ayrshire club midway through the first-half with a mesmerising piece of footwork that saw him nutmeg an opponent before driving forward on a solo run and completing the move with a low drive into the corner of the net.

A delighted Rodgers exclaimed: “With Reo, it’s all about intensity, it’s all about work-rate because when he works to that level and that intensity, then he’s a fantastic player.

“It was a great goal and he could have had maybe at least another, but he was very creative. His pressing was good, his quality was good and he was outstanding.”

THE SIGNS ARE GOOD…Reo Hatate celebrates his penalty-kick strike in the 3-0 win at Livingston.

Kyogo Furuhashi scored his fifth goal for his country in their 2-0 win over Tunisia earlier this week, but it was his midfield partner who earned most of the kudos after a commanding show.

And Hatate revealed he is determined to continue in his rich vein of form for the champions as they prepare for Sunday’s trip to Tynecastle to take on Hearts in their continued quest of piling up the points in their bid for a twelfth title in 13 years.

The all-action middle-of-the-park performer, speaking to local media, said: “It was good that I was able to play inside compared to the players who have played up until now and I think I was able to show my individuality here and there.

“However, I don’t intend to be satisfied with just the build-up. If you’re going to play in that position it’s important to break through individually.

“It’s not my main job, but when I get a chance like this, I wish I could have taken on the challenge of breaking through. I want to improve as an individual and as a team player.”

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